Indian Spices on Radishev Boulevard in Tver

A couple of years ago Dima (the one who took over the Dacha & Horses project) told me that an Indian food is now available in Tver but I disregarded the story thinking good things just don’t happen in that hole. It turned out that the Indian Spices now does have an outlet in this gloomy city. It is Bulvar Radisheva 33. Open 10am to 8pm every day. Tel. +7 4822 574557.

Who was Radishev? Every city on the way from Moscow to St. Peterburg has a street named after Alexander Nikolayevich Radishev who earned this honour for travelling between these two places and publishing, in around 1790, his travel notes intermingled with criticizing the government, for which he was arrested, sentenced to be hanged, more >>

Staritsa photos, part 1

Part 1 of my attempt to consolidate the Staritsa stuff scattered around. Here are some photos of the town and the surrounding countryside, and much more are on their way.

Rolling hills, semi-forested, largely abandoned or used for grazing, still mostly free access. Ideal for hiking or camping. In recent past (till shortly after the war) the area was densely populated (three times the density and probably 10 times the economic activity compared to present). A stroll with a metal detector is certain to get you something from the past.

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An embarrassing discovery

It turned out that I still haven’t moved old Staritsa pages here yes. I’m now proceeding to sift through my old Starista related pages to generate a summary of what I deem valuable to travellers. I’ll use the advantage offered by CMS and add stuff in the form of short posts in hope that the Categories function will let you easily find these bits. Simpler for me to do it that way than writing one long text as in the old days..

Iconic “misery” scenes from Tver

I knew the place well in my Staritsa days and even took Australian and Holywood filmmakers there in ~2004 when hired to assist in a documentary on Russian women, where my job was to set up interviews with prostitutes, alcoholics, drug addicts, writers, painters, and religious freaks while my competitor Olesya was given the job of makeing arrangement with successful woman.

 

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Tver

My old Tver page is hopelessly outdated but you may still be able to eek if not specific information then the general feel for the place. Doubt I’ll be doing any major update on Tver. I confess it is not among my favourite places in Russia. A factory town full of gloom but of the sort that somehow fails to excite a connoisseur of anti-aesthetics I am. The only business reason to promote Tver is “Russian brides”, up to around 2004 were a major industry. But I’m much better connected in Ryazan and am nicely equipped to assist you in this futile task there rather than in Tver. The city is, however, in the middle of interesting territory. Close to Staritsa, where my Dacha & Horses project is still alive and well without my presence. Close to Torzhok, which is on my personal favourites list. If asked about Tver regularly I may do a proper update. After all this project is to entice clients, not to share my tastes and preferences.

Bologoye (Bologoe)

bologoye_n_areaOne of these nondescript industrial towns (transportation,  railroad ties tarring operation, armature factory, furniture factory, agriculture). Population 25 th. Its claim to fame in being located exactly halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. It is also know by the highly annoying 1980s Veselyye Rebyata (Fun Guys) hit that’s still heard around a lot. If travelling between Moscow and St. Petersburg stay either in Torzhok or Valday unless of course you are after industrial landscapes that define Russia no less than gold-plated onion domes. Vyshni Volochek and Bologoye section of the Moscow to St. Petersburg highway is famous for traffic collapses. Being stuck for 3-6 hours is entirely common. In the beginning of winter 2012 traffic stood still for two or three days. Most images in the videos below seem to be from middle section of Highway 10 often called the Road of Death for its highers per mile accident rate of all of Russian roads. Watch this and this in preparation for your trip and keep distance! Train derailing are also common in the area. The last one happened in 2009 and was officially attributed to evil Chechen terrorists but if you ask me 200km/hour is a bit excessive for tracks laid over a swamp.

Hotel

  • Only one, as it should be for a town of this size. BOLOGOYE HOTEL, ulitsa Kirova 22, +7 (48238) 22377. $30-50/night. The official standard 2-3 start type hotel.

Other accommodation (and entertainment) options

  • VALDAYSKAYA USADBA, derevnya Kotovo, Bologoye rayon, tel. +7 (903) 807-4222, +7 (495) 790-8307. Banya, horse riding.
  • ZAIMKA, derevnya Glubochikha, Bologoye rayon, +7 (48238) 24706. Special attraction: banya “po-chernomy”, old-style, without chimney.
  • KINOGORODOK, selo Mikhailovskoya, Bologoye rayon, +7 (916) 162-96-10, +7 (915) 717-7925. Lake, sailboats.
  • OZERNY HEALTH RESORT, Bologoye, +7 (48238) 2-29-59.

Lots of undocumented guesthouses scattered around. I personally would not bother planning for accommodation if travelling in this area. The Moscow to St. Petersburg highway, the country’s main road, is full of passable and very inexpensive hostels that cater to truck drivers.

I haven’t found any active Bologoye sites. The biggest cluster of Bologoye ads, mostly apartment and land sales, is at

  • bologoe.tve.slando.ru/list/?page=3. Russian bride seekers may want to advertise there. Bologoye is one of these gloomy places where young women are motivated to get out. But no, I have no connections there. If you want my assistance, it will be Ryazan and only Ryazan, where I know the scene.

Speaking of advertising, there are two messages from me.

camp

  • First, ask about a trip, possibly camping style, between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and possibly further north. Gold Ring tours also doable. I personally am available to drive you around, to ask something of a guide, and generally keep you safe and comfortable. Even to act as a cook if you are into things bright, crispy, spicy, and full of sesame seed and olive oil! I come equipped with a truck, a camper, and a bunch of camping equipment. 3-4 can travel very comfortably, and what you’ll save on hotels and restaurant meals will be almost enough to cover costs. 

moonie_fall_2

  • Second, my former horse riding establishment near Staritsa, 250km from Moscow and about 600 to St. Petersburg, is still in business. Authentic isolated village setting, Upper Volga hills. Horse riding or Gypsy-style trips. Rafting. Catacomb exploration. Experienced riders can go unaccompanied. $50 per person per day includes accommodation, food, and horse riding! See www.russian-horse-rides.com

 

 

 

Open air tank museum in Lenino


A display of old tanks in Lenino. Or it may be Snegiri next door. The nearest station is said to be Snegiri. No more than an hour from the Ring Road, north-west from Moscow.

Don’t these things look better in snow? A proper tourist – now nearly extinct – wants to see Russia in winter. Late fall and winter, long drizzling rain and snow is what shapes and defines this land. Please note my Winter is the Soul of Russia (c) concept and tell me fucking why in all these years only two couples took advantage of that?!

Yes, you can touch, climb, or go into these tanks.

The red brick wall to the left is beginning of a huge Memorial to the Defenders of Moscow.

Something unbearably cute from the 20s. May be one of the first classic tanks by Renault.

Can anybody tell me why military equipment is (nearly) always beautiful? I doubt designers made any input into making these tanks. No focus groups were presented with sketches and models. Yet the result is a product of high aesthetic appeal. Tells us something about the nature of beauty, eh?